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AFC East Whispers

Henne told to check down to backs

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By PFW staff

These are some of the whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC East:

• Chad Henne targeted RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and FB Lousaka Polite a combined seven times (four receptions) in the season opener. We hear that Henne has been instructed to check down more often and has thrown better passes in the flat. Brown and Williams are the most talented players aside from WR Brandon Marshall, so Henne will continue to try to get his backs more involved in the passing game. As for Marshall, the newest Dolphin was targeted 13 times in the first game, over one-third of Henne's targets.

Losing NT Kris Jenkins to a torn ACL hurts, but the Jets' run defense may actually improve because of it. Sione Pouha is one of the more underrated run stuffers in the league, proven a year ago when the team improved its run "D" after he entered the lineup. Pouha also has a nose for the ball, recovering two fumbles in the season opener.

Keith Ellison (6-0, 229) doesn't have the prototypical size to play inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but he has the intelligence and instincts to excel at the position. Better vs. the pass than the run, the converted outside linebacker has been a valuable player for Buffalo over the years and will be needed once again, as he is the starter alongside Andra Davis for the next couple of weeks as Paul Posluszny (knee) and Kawika Mitchell (foot; on I.R.) rehab from injuries.

Earlier in the week when the Patriots activated OL Quinn Ojinnaka, who was suspended for Week One, they did so at OLB Marques Murrell's expense, releasing him. The interesting thing about the roster move, though, doesn't involve linebackers but rather OT Nick Kaczur. Kaczur, who had once been expected to start at guard with Logan Mankins holding out, remains on the roster despite having undergone back surgery in the preseason. Head coach Bill Belichick said, "If we didn't think he would be back, then we would put him on injured reserve."


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